As we age, gravity takes its toll on our appearance, weighing down the different areas of our face. A facelift, also called a rhytidectomy, combats those gravitational effects. This surgical procedure reduces the signs of aging in the lower and middle portions of the face, including:
- Loss of elasticity
- Fine lines
- Age spots
Facelifts have changed dramatically in recent decades, as plastic surgeons continue to learn more about the face’s contours and the body’s aging process. Our highly experienced plastic surgeons work not only with facial skin but also the underlying muscle, fat and tissue. The result: a softer, more natural appearance than in years past.
The Penn Experience
What to expect before, during and after facelift surgery
The methods your plastic surgeon will use during your facelift depend on your individual goals and facial structure. Often, patients combine a facelift with an eyelid lift, brow lift or aesthetic facial procedures, but that’s not always the case. A consultation with your surgeon will help you determine what works for you.
The surgery itself may happen on an outpatient or inpatient basis, depending on your unique needs. Your surgeon will make incisions based on the way your facial structures may help hide any scars from the procedure. Incisions typically begin above the hairline near the temples, extend to the folds in front of the ears, and continue into the hairline behind the ears. From there, your surgeon separates the skin from the fat and muscle below, trimming or suctioning fat to improve your facial contours.
Prior to surgery, your care team will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your facelift, including any foods, drinks and medications to avoid. Your care team also will share individualized aftercare instructions to help hasten your recovery.
After surgery, you’ll wear bandages to manage any swelling and bruising, and your care team will advise you to sleep with your head elevated. Your surgeon also will prescribe pain medication to manage any discomfort. Recovery times vary greatly, and your care team will advise you on when you can resume daily living activities.
Most patients begin walking and light household activities within a week, returning to work and other normal routines after two weeks. Keep in mind that because the healing process takes time, your appearance will continue to change over weeks or even months. Eventually, your renewed and refreshed face emerges, giving you a new sense of confidence.
Facelift cost varies based on your specific treatment goals and other services you may also undergo. Your surgeon will discuss the cost of a facelift with you during your consultation.
As with any surgery, facelifts can result in complications such as infection. You can prevent complications by following your pre- and post-surgery instructions to ensure your body is primed for the healing process.
Risks specific to facelifts include:
- Hematoma—a swelling that contains blood
- Nerve injuries—result in numbness and tingling, especially near the incision sites, that typically improves over time
- Scarring—generally faint and hidden above the hairline and in other inconspicuous spots
Your surgeon will discuss any risks specific to you prior to your facelift surgery. Please know that we put your safety and comfort above all else, and your care team is available through every step of your recovery to answer your questions and concerns.